Spain, which entered Euro 2020 as a +800 contender to win the tournament, has had some trouble scoring goals over the past two weeks. On Wednesday, a half-hour into their final Group E game, the Spaniards found a perfect antidote to their woes: Just let the opposing goalkeeper slap the ball into his own net.
Martin Dubravka, Slovakia's goalkeeper, scored Spain's second goal of the tournament by attempting to push an awkwardly looping rebound over the crossbar. Instead, he spanked it under the bar and into the net.
Less than 20 minutes earlier, Dubravka had saved a penalty from Alvaro Morata. And the goal wasn't entirely his fault. The sequence began with a dreadful giveaway by a Slovakian defender. Pablo Sarabia pounced on an errant pass, and struck the crossbar with his left-footed shot.
Dubravka did what many goalkeepers would've tried to do in that situation. Rather than try to catch the ball amid traffic, and with the crossbar an obstacle, he opted to punch the ball to safety and concede a corner kick. He just ... failed, and conceded a goal instead.
The Euro of the Own Goal
Dubravka's howler was the seventh — yes, seventh — own goal of the Euro 2020 group stage. The eighth arrived later in the game thanks to Slovakia's Juraj Kucka.
The tournament opened with one, and has seen its fair share of embarrassment since.
Portugal scored two against Germany. Germany scored one itself against France, the only goal of their Group F opener.
The sixth of eight came two days ago. Finland had held off Belgium for over an hour, and had one hand on an improbable place in the Round of 16. Then goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky fumbled a rebound across his own goal line.
None were as bad as the seventh, though. Dubravka, who plays for Newcastle United in the English Premier League, put Slovakia behind in a crucial Group E decider. At 0-0, the Slovaks were going through to the knockout round in second place. At 1-0, they were on the brink.
Spain now appears to be on its way to knockouts at the expense of Slovakia. Still at +800, it's the joint-fourth favorite to lift the Euro 2020 trophy early next month.
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